Size Really Does Matter…

Today’s Workout:  cycle – strength (cranking the resistance really high and standing out of the saddle for entire class – or, in true cyclist nomenclature:  climbing)

So, tonight in cycle class, while we’re huffing away, dripping sweat, and in general DYING, I had a brief conversation with my tall, skinny, male cycle neighbor that went something like this:

Him:  What’s your heart rate monitor reading right now?

Me:  About 165

Him:  Mine too!  Is that normal for you?  It’s way high for me.

Me:  Uh, yeah, well, it’s normal for an interval class, a little high for this strength class (LIE, btw, it’s always up there).

Him:  Does yours calculate calories burned?

Me:  Yep.

Him:  What does yours read?

Me:  About 110.

Him:  [WAY too cheerfully] Hunh.  If I were you right now, I’d have burned 200 calories!

Thus sparked yet another round of discussion revolving around why some burn more calories than others when we’re all clearly busting our butts.  We have this conversation about every six months.  I heart my gym peeps.  :0)  It all comes down to this:  the bigger you are, i.e. the more you weigh, the more calories you burn in a specified amount of time.  Think about it – take the show “The Biggest Loser”.  Those people lose, like, 20 lbs the first two weeks, sometimes more.  It’s because they start out extremely obese, i.e. HEAVY.  Think about how much energy it takes to move that weight around.  That’s an extreme illustration of the general concept; the more weight you have to move, the more energy expended, equaling a higher heart rate and therefore more calories burned.  (For more info on this phenomenon, look here.)  Included in this discussion was the ever-present, “I hate my husband – he goes on a diet and loses like ten pounds in a week!  It must be a guy thing.”  Well, kind of.  Here’s the deal:  lean muscle tissue burns more calories at rest than fat.  Guys generally have more muscle mass than women, because we have to maintain a certain body fat percentage for things like carryin’, birthin’, and feedin’ babies (even if we don’t ever plan on doing any of that – not fair!).  So with a higher muscle mass, yes, guys burn calories/lose weight more easily than us.  But it’s a muscle mass thing, not a guy thing.  You take a fairly soft male compared with an elite female athlete and things change.  So lift those weights, ladies!  Building lean muscle mass adds to your overall caloric burn (among *many* more health benefits that I will discuss at some point in the future), so we may be able to keep up with those guys in our gym classes after all.  Challenge is on, dudes!

And now,  here’s a brief recap of the day’s meals:

Breakfast was oatmeal with apples and cranberries.  I use a multi-grain blend that I get in my grocery’s bulk isle.  It takes a little longer to cook but it’s SO good.  I just chop up 1/4 an apple and put it in along with a few dried cranberries while everything is cooking.  I sprinkled in a little cinnamon and a touch of brown sugar and it was ready to go.  YUM.  I do oatmeal a lot in the mornings, look for several variations to come.

Another Chobani Greek Yogurt for my mid-morning snack.  Pomegranate might be my favorite flavor.  It has real pomegranate seeds/pods (?what are those things?) in it.  Never eaten pomegranate?  Read all about why they’re called a “super-food” here.

Lunch was leftover kale lasagna (unpictured) and a salad.  Into the salad bowl went baby spinach, grape tomatoes, a carrot, 1/2 an avocado, and toasted pumpkin seeds.  I use a homemade balsamic vinaigrette for my dressing – I whip up a batch of it and keep it in the fridge.  It’s super easy – just some oil, balsamic vinegar, dijon mustard, ketchup, brown sugar, and garlic.

Dinner tonight was sadly lacking in color…I really try to make my meals colorful, that way I know I’m getting lots of different nutrients.  Goal not accomplished tonight.  Oh well. Leftover mini apple-cheddar turkey meatloaves, leftover roasted rosemary potatoes, and 1/2 a baked acorn squash.  Lots of leftovers this week – no complaints here but it makes for kind of a boring week of food reporting.  :0/  More variety next week, I promise!

Whew!  This girl is tired.  The approaching full moon has made sleep difficult the last few nights.  Hoping for a good rest this evening.

Do you track heart rate and/or calories burned while exercising?  If so, what do you use?  If not, how do you make sure you’re training in the right zone for your goals (cardiovascular endurance, weight loss, etc.)?


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